ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A ribbon cutting Friday was held on Friday morning for an old factory turned new apartment building in Albany. But with new development comes questions about affordability for the building’s tenants and the surrounding neighborhoods.
In the shadow of the Henry Johnson overpass sits 242 Spruce Street the building glowing with promise for developer Patrick Chiou.
This is what 242 Spruce’s neighborhood of Sheridan Hollow looks like. Chiou calls it the forgotten area of Albany. But the Big Apple born developer sees promise here — warts and all—likening it to the revitalization of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“My vision of this neighborhood in the near future will be at thriving community were young families, young professionals, and everybody in the community can have a clean, safe and affordable place to live” said the developer to a crowd of attendees.
That’ is ‘s why he’s putting his new apartment building here.
“The Lofts at Spruce” they’re calling it. It was born out of a gut renovation of the old Charles Freihofer Baking Company building.
Inside are 38 sleek new apartments retrofitted with ebony and ivory decor, some of which will be affordable housing units.
“Our rents range anywhere from 1100 [$] all the way up to 2200 [$]. Price per square foot though, we are very market rate” Chiou told NEWS 10’s Zion Decoteau.
You may be thinking…affordable for who?
“What is unaffordable at this point right now? Chiou said. “I mean, I think our apartments are going to be priced at a certain price point where it is affordable to everybody”.
“If you revitalize areas to have anchors like this, that have a spin off effects, increasing the value of the homes, and the neighbors homes on the street” said city of Albany Treasurer Darius Shahinfar. “…And it really helps to revitalize the neighborhood bring in new people, new energy, and a greater feeling of safety instead of abandonment” he added.
Of course, with talks of revitalization, comes fears of gentrification.
“It’s always…it’s always a danger anywhere you are but to be sure we’re so far from that. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it” the treasurer continued.
Chiou makes it clear he’s not some downstate developer traveling up the Hudson for cash:
“I’ve been up here for 10 years now, so locally now I live in this community now. But I used to live in my projects after I completed them”.
Chou says he envisions a local revitalization once tenants start moving in, and he hopes other developers will move in to spruce up the area.